Pupils get a peek into the business world


What do I want? What would I like to achieve? What are my particular strengths and what are my options? School-leavers face a sheer limitless number of possibilities. At the same time, there is such a flood of information events, fairs and advice centres on offer to them that they can easily lose sight of the big picture. ista tries to give school-leavers guidance and a chance to get to know the company through a variety of measures – for example the "Dialogue with Young People" event, which ista took part in for the fourth time this year.

Babbling voices and excited chatter – it’s all go at ista when the “Dialogue with Young People” event is held. This year, some 50 pupils crowded into the foyer and waited to ask the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Jochen Schein, questions.

In this series of talks organised by Initiativkreis Ruhr, every year companies invite young people from schools in the Ruhr area to get to know their business and gain an insight into the work of top managers in a personal talk face to face. On this particular afternoon, pupils from the Fröndenberg comprehensive school and the Bochum-based Louis-Baare Vocational College have come to ista. Abdul (20), a pupil at the vocational college, says they are all here on their own free will. “It is so important to get information in good time. And when else do you get the chance to have such a close look behind the scenes in a company?” He’s right. Even though he already knows what he wants to be.


Chief Operating Officer (COO), Jochen Schein, answers questions put by the pupils from the Fröndenberg comprehensive school and the Bochum-based Louis-Baare Vocational College.

The pupils are certainly well prepared: they got their information together, collected the questions for Jochen Schein, printed them out and distributed them to each other. So they do not end up in the embarrassing situation where nobody asks a question, one girl openly admits. And then it’s straight down to business: after an introduction to ista, its business model and his own career, Jochen Schein faces the participants’ questions – and thanks to the good preparation, there are certainly quite a few. Apart from what Jochen Schein does in his spare time and his career, the pupils are particularly interested in apprenticeships at ista. Is ista a fair employer? What further training opportunities does it offer? What qualifications do dual-study students have to have to be considered for a place?

Maike Böcker is the best person to answer these questions. She has been a dual-study apprentice at ista since September 2014 and is very satisfied with the programme: “The students learn everything and get to know everybody in the company and in the 5th semester they can choose a department which they would like to focus on during the rest of their studies.” But self-motivation is an absolute must. “If you are not a person who can keep pulling yourself together and motivating yourself, you had better not apply for a dual-study place,” says the 23-year-old. “I go to university two days a week and I work full-time the other three days in the week. And on top of all that, I do my coursework assignments and exams – with all that, if you can’t keep your motivation up, you’re lost.” Jochen Schein sees it that way, too, and adds that you also need good analytical skills and above all a good understanding of technical things if you are to succeed at ista. When he says that good marks are also a must if you want an ista contract, one or the other pupil looks a bit uneasy – it’s a good job the event then quickly continues with the day’s programme for the pupils. After refreshments, it’s on to the workshops, which are headed by ista employees and focus on communications, project management or the commercial property concept.


Janna Carina Bülhoff, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, gives an insight into Corporate Communications and outlines the pupils’ prospects at ista.

At the end of the day, Abdul and his friend Daniel are satisfied: “The event really measured up to our expectations”, and they agree, “it was very personal, everybody was very friendly and we got a really good insight into the company”.

The positive impression that the two got confirms ista’s status as a top employer, a prize which it was recently awarded. This time ista was crowned one of the best employers in no less than five European countries and is therefore also a Top Employer Europe. The awards conferred by the Amsterdam-based research company, Top Employers Institute, stand for the highest quality in HR management and are an important indicator and guide for school-leavers and potential applicants. Platforms such as blicksta.de can also give young people guidance in finding their way through the jungle of companies and job and training offers.

Picture credits: ista